Thursday, October 4, 2001

These colorful lawn jockeys in police custody yesterday were among
some of the 500 stolen lawn ornaments recovered by the Honolulu
Police Department following one arrest and a served search warrant.

Lawn thefts
pack in the pounds

HPD estimates the East Honolulu
thieves stole $100,000 worth
of lawn ornaments

By Rod Antone

When Honolulu police Lt. Sherman Chan says he has a ton of recovered burglary items, he means he has a TON of items.

"Like 'ton,' as in weight," Chan said. "There may have been other thieves who have stolen more items, but in terms of tonnage, I think we've got everybody beat."

Honolulu police recovered more than 500 stolen lawn items last weekend, many of them heavy statues of metal and stone that were taken from East Honolulu homes over a four- to five-month period. The stolen items include a 150-pound granite usu, or mochi-pounding stone bowl, two bronze Chinese lions weighing about 200 pounds each, four bronze cranes standing about 6 feet high, and various concrete statues of Buddhas, angels and other religious figures.

All told, the stolen goods are worth an estimated $100,000, most of them taken from lawns and lanais in Kahala, Waialae and the Diamond Head area.

"One lady got hit twice," said CrimeStoppers Detective Letha DeCaires. "After stealing from her once, the thieves came back on the 12th (of September) and stole from her again.

"But this last time, one of her neighbors noticed the suspect vehicle used and remembered the license plate number. That was the break we needed."

From that lead, Chan says, police were able to execute a search warrant this past weekend at a Hawaii Kai residence where they found some of the stolen goods. From there police were led to another hiding place, an Iwilei storage locker where Chan says they found the "mother lode."

"The thieves were selling stuff to the guy who lived at the Hawaii Kai residence," said Chan. "We arrested him for theft, and he's since been released pending an investigation."

As far as the burglaries themselves, Chan says: "There was nothing fancy done. The suspects would check out someone's lawn at night, and if they could move it, they stole it."

So far, police have charged one man in the case, David W. Lorimer, with first-degree burglary. Besides Lorimer, Chan thinks at least one or two other male suspects were also involved.

"There's no way he could have carried away some of that stuff by himself," said Chan.

Honolulu police say they have linked the stolen items to about 100 different burglary cases. Burglary victims can claim their belongings at a viewing at the Police Department this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Police ask that the public use the Hotel Street entrance to enter HPD's Beretania Street headquarters. A picture ID is also needed to enter the police station, and Chan says a police report number and a photograph of the stolen item is needed to make a claim.

Oh, and one more thing.

"Bring a truck," said Chan.

E-mail to City Desk

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